M. Night Shyamalan has done it again. He’s not living up to the hype. I suppose it was a blessing that The Sixth Sense was a ridiculously successful, but it is a curse that it is the standard by which he is being compared.
Had I not been aware of the TV series The Last Airbender was based on, I would actually be less underwhelmed. The premise of the story is this… There are 4 tribes on the planet-Air, Water, Earth and Fire. Each tribe has individuals that can “bend” (magically manipulate) their respective elements. “The Last Airbender,” Aang (played by an incredibly deadpan and almost emotionless Noah Ringer), is literally the last of his kind. A prophecy foretold the Avatar would come from the Air tribe. The rest of his people were killed off by the Fire Nation while Ang was frozen in ice for 100 years. When Ang was 12, he learned he was the latest Avatar, the one destined to keep peace on the planet. He did not want the responsibility and fled, only to come back a century later to the Fire Nation devastating the planet.
Within three minutes of the opening, Aang is found by Katara (Nicola Peltz) and her brother Sokka (Jackson Rathbone). I was ready to exclaim, “Wow! They are getting right to it!” Right about then I realized they had taken a few liberties with the plot. Fine, no problem. Then the story logic starts to fall apart. D’oh! Did I mention the exposition is sooo dry and forced, I felt I was watching someone reading a text book.
Cinematically speaking, *YAWN*… Did they lose me at the bad dialogue, the crappy characterization or the jumbled story line? It was all of the above and various combinations thereof. We were rushed through the interesting parts, and forced to endure unnecessary trivialities like, “Aang, we have to go.” You think? We are in the middle of a battle, they are coming to kill you because of something that was scrawled on an animal hide, and you have to be told we have to leave. Again.
There were some decent special effects, but nothing you haven’t seen in the trailer. Ahh, the trailer. More interesting than the whole movie! Oh yeah, I was “lucky” enough to see this is 3D. Didn’t add a thing. I actually found myself taking the glasses off multiple times to make sense of what was happening.
One of the biggest flaws was it seemed they were trying to cram 3 seasons of material in a less than 2 hour movie. Seconds before the credits roll, it is revealed they intend to have a sequel. If you are going to run a marathon, don’t sprint from the starting line!!!
There are plenty of things wrong with this film, but you get the idea. It was not as fun as Splice to rip apart, so I’ll wrap up. I’m not going to hold my breath that part 2 will get made, but if Twilight can spawn a couple…